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Archive for November 25th, 2020

Ex-FBI Official Quit Airbnb Over Concerns About Sharing Customer Data With China

By Allan Lengel

Sean Joyce had a solid reputation when he worked for the FBI, rising to the second highest position. So, when he joined private industry he apparently wanted to maintain his integrity.

Sean Joyce/fbi photo

In May 2019, Joyce, the former deputy director at the FBI, was hired by Airbnb, the vacation rental company, as its first “chief trust officer,” a role that involved protecting users’ safety on the platform, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Six months later, he quit over concerns about how the company shares data on millions of its users with Chinese authorities, the Journal writes, citing unnamed sources.

The publication goes on to write:

A high-profile hire for Airbnb, Mr. Joyce grew alarmed during his tenure that the company wasn’t being fully transparent about the data it shares with the ruling Chinese Communist Party government, including for Americans traveling in the country, these people say. He also was concerned about what he viewed as Airbnb’s willingness to consider more expansive data requests from China, the people familiar said.

Happy Thanksgiving from ticklethewire.com

Update: Trump Pardons Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

Update: 5:12 p.m. Wednesday: As expected, President Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

On late Wednesday afternoon he tweeted:

It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!


From Wednesday Morning

President Trump plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn before leaving office, according to Axios and The New York Times

Flynn, 61-year-old retired lieutenant general, is among a number of people that Trump plans to pardon before his team ends, sources told the news outlets. 

Flynn is Trump’s first national security advisor and also was the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. But he later fired his attorneys and asked to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was entrapped by the FBI and Justice Department. 

Attorney General William Barr, who has intervened in cases involving the president’s allies, has asked Judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss the case in May. Sullivan has not made a decision

In April, weeks before the Justice Department intervened, Trump tweeted, “What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!”

When asked about a potential pardon of Flynn in July, Trump said “I don’t have a decision to make” about a potential pardon for Flynn “until I find out what’s going to happen” with Flynn’s attempt to get his conviction tossed.

“I think he’s doing very well with respect to his case,” Trump told reporters at the time. “I hope that he’s going to be able to win it.”

U.S. Citizens Settle Lawsuit After Being Detained by Border Patrol for Speaking Spanish in Montana

Screen grab of Border Patrol agent detaining Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez.

By Steve Neavling

Two U.S. citizens who were detained by Border Patrol at a convenience store in Montana for speaking Spanish have reached a settlement in a lawsuit they filed against the Trump administration. 

Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez alleged in the lawsuit that their constitutional rights were violated when the agents detained them for 40 minutes in the parking lot of the store. According to the suit, they were standing in line to pay for groceries when a Border Patrol agent asked where the women were born and demanded their identifications. They both turned over valid Montana drivers licenses. 

Although there was no evidence they violated a law, the agent detained them while they filmed the incident. 

“Ma’am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here and I saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here,” the agent said in the video. 

“We stood up to the government because speaking Spanish is not a reason to be racially profiled and harassed,” Suda said in a news release from the ACLU of Montana, which filed the lawsuit. “I am proud to be bilingual, and I hope that as a result of this case CBP takes a hard look at its policies and practices. No one else should ever have to go through this again.”

As part of the settlement, CBP did not admit liability.